THE WEPL Wiltshire title was all but handed to runaway leaders Marshfield on Saturday after closest pursuers Swindon were beaten by three wickets in a low-scoring game at the Broadleys.

Marshfield took Swindon’s final four wickets for only seven runs and consequently restricted Saturday’s visitors to just 125 with the bat from less than 41 overs.

In reply, Marshfield knocked off the runs with 25 overs to spare, though they did lose seven wickets on their way to victory.

Nonetheless, the hosts’ win in this table-topping clash means Swindon now face a mammoth task of clawing back the 56 points that separate them from Marshfield.

And skipper Marc Williamson accepts that task is a bridge too far for his trying XI.

He added: “Marshfield have been the standout team in the league, and it looks like they’re going to go on and take the crown.

“Saturday was a tough day all round, you always know what you’re going to get when you play Marshfield.

“They stuck us in early and we were probably 30 or 40 runs short in the end.

“The game was certainly in their favour between innings – 150 would’ve been interesting, and 180 I would’ve backed us every day.”

Williamson is now likely to look towards some of Swindon’s younger players for the remainder of the season to boost experience levels within the second team.

Teenager Oliver Whiteley made his first-team debut at Marshfield on Saturday, scoring an impressive 27 runs from 78 balls.

Whiteley’s debut isn’t likely to be the last this season, as Williamson praised his side’s battling qualities in defeat.

He added: “I was pleased with the character the guys showed. We never gave up and put the game to them.

“They scraped over the line, so it was good to see we didn’t just hand them the win.

“The wicket at Marshfield can always be a bit tricky, but in truth the surface wasn’t too bad.

“They bowled really well, and that didn’t allow us to get the score we wanted.”

Elsewhere in WEPL Wiltshire, Royal Wootton Bassett’s hopes of finishing the year in the division’s top half faded after they lost by 107 runs to Warminster.

Only Morgan Marsh-Ballard (33) hit double figures for Bassett as they crashed to 70 all-out following the visitors’ post of 177.

Meanwhile, Purton remain rooted to the bottom of the table after they suffered a 118-run loss at home to Westbury.

Graham Hudson’s sensational ton put Westbury in the driving seat as they remained third in the table ahead of Devizes.

In other results, Potterne 2nd defeated Hinton Charterhouse while Devizes won against mid-table Calne.